On October 19th, Forbes contributor Peter J. Reilly wrote a column about the potential hardships on Indiana property owners under the State's delinquent real estate tax redemption scheme. He titled his piece How To Sell Your Home To A Stranger For A Fraction Of Its Value. The September 28th Indiana Court of Appeals opinion in M Jewell, LLC v. Powell formed the basis of Mr. Reilly's column. Here is his conclusion:
I find that when I talk to a lot of people about different issues, many of them will reflexively indicate that either government or greedy business is the problem, depending on their ideological perspective. Other times people will trumpet the virtues of public/private partnerships. The collection of real estate taxes by auctioning off liens and tax deeds appears to have the potential of being a toxic mixture of the worst aspects of government and business. Clearly it helps local governments keep overhead down, which is a good thing, but at least in Indiana, it appears that there needs to be some greater protection for hapless homeowners.
Jewell is an interesting and educational case for mortgagees, mortgagors, tax sale purchasers and real estate lawyers. For more background on the law and related issues regarding Indiana tax sales, and how they affect secured lenders, please review my two posts on the subject from last November.